How the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal became a key issue in US Virgin Islands GOP caucus

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — More than four years after his death, Jeffrey Epstein — the most notorious resident of the U.S. Virgin Islands — is haunting the territory’s Republican presidential caucus.

The convicted pedophile and financier owned and kept an estate on Little St. James Island for more than 20 years, allegedly trafficking young girls to the compound for use by himself or one of the many prominent figures in his orbit.

The USVI government’s failure to launch a comprehensive probe into Epstein’s activities has prompted some local Republicans to claim there’s been a lack of oversight on the island that has allowed corruption to thrive.

Now, after Thursday’s caucus that Donald Trump won, local GOP officials want him to pledge in writing to fill key law enforcement positions under presidential purview — including U.S. attorney, U.S. marshal and U.S. judge for the District of the Virgin Islands — to avoid similar scandal.

How the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal became a key issue in US Virgin Islands GOP caucus

“We’ve been under Democrat rule for 35 years and we’ve had major stories here from Epstein to [telecom magnate] Jeffrey Prosser, half a billion dollars bankruptcy. We’ve got graft in our government, but it seems like no one ever goes to jail, no one ever gets arrested,” Gordon Ackley, Chair of the Republican Party in the Virgin Islands, told The Post.

The USVI has not elected a Republican as governor since 1975 and there are no Republicans in the territory’s legislature.

Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and ambassador to the United Nations, has said she would “absolutely” appoint “conservative Republicans” to all federal offices in the USVI.

“We need to have good, strong conservative leaders in all of those positions, without question. I don’t know why that hasn’t happened up until now, but we’ve got to make sure that we do that going forward,” Haley told local GOP officials on a Zoom call Monday evening, shading the former president in the process.

Back in October, then-2024 candidate Ron DeSantis also torched Trump for having a “massive number of positions that were unfilled” during his first term.

How the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal became a key issue in US Virgin Islands GOP caucus

The Republican Party in the USVI had sent numerous letters to Trump in 2017 urging him to fill the appointments in the territory.

“I think if there was an appointed conservative AG’s office, conservative judges, US marshals that the president gets to appoint, then maybe the whole Epstein thing — it went on for 20 years — maybe it would have gone on for eight years. I don’t know, but unless we have a balance in our system, one-party rule is, you see the aftermath of it,” argued Ackley.

The Republican Party in the USVI is leveraging its early caucus date to spotlight the concerns of the islands’ residents. The party broke with the RNC’s calendar rules, vying for the third-in-the-nation spot despite a delegate penalty to ensure more attention to the U.S. territory.

The Trump campaign did not responded to multiple inquiries from The Post.

Epstein notably donated to the campaign of Democrat Stacey Plaskett, who represents the USVI in Congress as a non-voting delegate.

How the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal became a key issue in US Virgin Islands GOP caucus

Donald Trump (left) with Jeffrey Epstein in New York City

Plaskett later said she was not aware of the donations, and vowed to match the amount Epstein gave to her election campaign in contributions to local organizations that work with women and children.

JPMorgan Chase, in a filing submitted after the bank was accused of financially benefiting from Epstein’s activities, claimed the late pedophile had a “quid pro quo” relationship with officials in the US Virgin Islands.

“For two decades, and for long after JPMC exited Epstein as a client, the entity that most directly failed to protect public safety and most actively facilitated and benefited from Epstein’s continued criminal activity was the plaintiff in this case — the USVI government itself,” the bank said in a May filing.

At the time, a spokesperson for the USVI Attorney’s Office claimed the bank’s filing was “an obvious attempt to shift blame away from JPMorgan Chase, which had a legal responsibility to report the evidence in its possession of Epstein’s human trafficking, and failed to do so.”

Then-USVI Attorney General Denise George had pursued lawsuits against Epstein’s estate until she was dismissed by USVI Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. at the start of 2023, after George launched a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase on accusations the bank helped finance Epstein’s exploitation of women.

Bryan did not provide a reason for relieving George of her duties at the time and George has been reluctant to speak out about her firing, telling the Times of London she was only told of the news on New Year’s Eve 2022, when Braun’s security detail “came over and delivered me a letter of termination.”

George had previously launched a lawsuit against Epstein for his alleged sexual crimes against minors on his two private islands.

She eventually settled her lawsuit against Epstein’s estate for $105 million plus half of the sale price of Little St. James.